Alvaro Bautista paid tribute to his San Carlo Honda Gresini team after he claimed his first ever MotoGP pole position at Silverstone today. The Spaniard was helped by a timely rain shower but felt he had pace in reserve himself to challenge the Yamahas and Repsol Honda.
Bautista was delighted to reward the Gresini team with their first pole in almost a year and is confident of competing at the front in the race too.
“I’m really happy for myself and also pleased for the team. This pole position hasn’t happened by coincidence – it is the fruit of a lot of hard work from all the guys who have all been giving 100% and sometimes a little more. The conditions today were strange and difficult but we managed to find a good setting, I was up front for the whole session and set my fastest lap on my own. It started to rain for the last few minutes and nobody was able to improve their time but I still had a fresh tyre to use and made a couple of mistakes on my best lap so could have gone faster too. Tomorrow I start on pole and have a good race pace so hopefully we can convert it into a good result.”
Teammate Michele Pirro will start fourteenth, fourth of the CRT riders, and is hopeful of adding to the feel-good factor in the team by winning his particular mini-race tomorrow.
“It could have been better but it started to rain in the last few minutes and it would have been too risky to try and improve the lap time so we decided to back off. Anyway I am happy because our race pace is good and I think I can fight with the best CRT guys out there. We have taken another step forward here and I think we can make another improvement for tomorrow.“
Team Manager Fausto Gresini admitted today was a poignant moment for the team and dedicated the special result to the late Marco Simoncelli who took the team's last pole.
“This pole position was unexpected but it is wonderful and exciting. It is only qualifying and the race is tomorrow but for us it is a source of satisfaction and confirmation that we are working well with Alvaro. I am happy for Honda, San Carlo, the guys in the team, Alvaro for his first pole in MotoGP and everybody who supports us and believes in us. It is a little over a year since Marco Simoncelli set pole for the first time at Catalunya and I want to dedicate this moment to him because it is nice to be able to smile again after so many sad days. I am also happy with Michele because we have taken another step forward and could have done even better in qualifying so there is no reason why he can’t be fighting to be the top CRT tomorrow.“